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Drinkers here supped 24 million fewer pints during April

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Sales of beer plummeted

Sales of beer plummeted

Sales of beer plummeted

Beer sales fell by a third in April and not even a surge in off-licence sales made up the difference.

People in Ireland drank 24 million fewer pints in April than during the same month last year, according to data from Nielsen, released by industry body Drinks Ireland.

Alcohol consumption including beer, cider and spirits, has fallen sharply as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, with the total volume of sales down by 35.6pc in April 2020 compared to April 2019.

Patricia Callan, director of Drinks Ireland, said the perception people were drinking more during lockdown was not borne out by the numbers.

With pubs set to remain shut until August and the tourism industry and festivals of all kinds on hold heading into the summer, alcohol consumption is likely to continue to fall.

In April, the data shows that 24 million fewer pints of beer and cider were consumed.

Off-licence sales showed an increase of 58pc during the same period.

There were 4.9 million fewer 35.5ml single measures of spirits sold in April 2020 compared to the previous year.

Ringing

The data was collected from outlets across the country but does not include sales data from Dunnes Stores or some discount retailers.

Meanwhile, the tills have been ringing for grocery chains, which have gained market share across a range of areas since the Covid-19 lockdown began in March - and in the wake of closed pubs, cafes and restaurants.

Sales of barbecue staples have also jumped as consumers have made the most of the good weather.

In the past four weeks, shoppers spent an extra €3.8m on sausages and burgers, and €5.9m more on ice cream.

An increasing share of the grocery trade has also shifted to online.

Online grocery sales soared 76pc in the past 12 weeks - the fastest rate of growth in 15 years - as shoppers tried to avoid stores due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to research group Kantar.

The latest Kantar figures also show that SuperValu was the largest grocery retailer in the 12 weeks to May 17.

It boasted a 22.4pc share based on the value of goods sold.

"As lockdown continues, households with more mouths to feed at home have made their way through supplies and are now starting to top up depleted store cupboards," said Kantar retail analyst Emer Hurley.